Ask Mr. Wizard

A Beer’s Changing Flavor Profile


Shawn Poggemiller — Dubuque, Iowa asks,

I have brewed a Founders Brewing Co.’s Breakfast Stout clone from the BYO Big Book of Clone Recipes every year when it gets cold outside. It is fantastic and find it gets very close to Founders’ version. I brew the recipe exactly as printed using cocoa nibs and Kona and Sumatran coffees. One thing I have noticed is that the Founders’ beer seems to have a very consistent flavor profile with a nice balance of the chocolate and coffee while the chocolate and coffee flavors in my homebrewed version change dramatically over a period of about three months. In the beginning, the coffee flavor is dominant and it can be difficult to taste any chocolate. After a few weeks the coffee calms down and a milk chocolate flavor starts to appear. After a few more weeks the coffee flavor turns really earthy and the chocolate flavor turns dry and almost bitter. Is there a way to stabilize these flavors?

Just reading this question makes me want to stop writing and go find one of these great beers! Describing off-flavors can be difficult, especially in beer styles with a combination of special
Response by Ashton Lewis.